Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the Territory is a priority reform for the ACT Government. Across Australia, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 10 years. This means that children as young as 10 can be charged, convicted, and incarcerated for a criminal offence.
Exposing children and young people to the criminal justice system can have a significant impact on their neurological and social development and can result in life-long interactions with the justice system.
By raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility, we can provide options for therapeutic and restorative care to reduce children and young people's interaction with the criminal justice system, better meet the needs of these young children and their families and keep the Canberra community safe.
- In November 2022, the ACT Government released a position paper, proving more detail on its commitment to raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility through a two-stage approach.
The Position Paper on raising the age of criminal responsibility has been released by the Government on 3 November 2022
- In February 2021, the ACT Government commissioned an independent review headed by Emeritus Professor Morag McArthur on the steps required to best support this major reform.
The Final Report of the independent review has been released by the Government on 11 October 2021.
The Final Report is in addition to community consultation in 2021 on a Discussion Paper on raising the minimum age. Public feedback on the Discussion Paper closed in August 2021 and a Listening Report has been published in November 2021 along with Submissions on the Discussion Paper.